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Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum and I thought it'd be good to post here both visiting the other parts of the forum. I'm a 21-year student in DC, about to graduate with a B.A. in History in December. After graduation I've always wanted to live abroad, hopefully teaching English. I've been tutoring ESOL for the foreign graduate students at my University, so I do have a little bit of experience. I had a few questions for you guys, especially for anyone who has gone the teaching English route.
First of all I wanted to ask about TEFL certification. I've looked into taking a course this summer, and although they're pricy I'm considering doing one. The one I'm considering is an actual class, not just an online course. Did all the teachers on here take one? I've heard you don't always need them, and that it is more dependent on the country, but I thought being younger I should probably play it safe.
My second question had to do with recommendations as far as countries go. I speak a moderate amount of Spanish so I've considered C.A. or S.A., but I've also heard amazing things about SEA. I'm looking for somewhere with a nice climate, fun girls, and somewhere slightly off the beaten path as far as tourism. By off the beaten path I just mine I don't think I'd want to be teaching in Bangkok or anything.
My mom's friend offered me a job at a school in the Philippines that he runs, but it's in a rural area outside of Silay City and I'm nervous there wouldn't be a lot of action around there. Right now I'm leaning towards the Vietnam, everything from its girls, its location, and its culture sounds amazing.
Really any advice would be appreciated, as I'm trying to get some set plans for where I want to be in a year. Look forward to getting to know everyone on the boards.
Also I'm not sure if it's important, but I do have some student loans. The payment would be $80 a month so it shouldn't be a huge issue. Hopefully I'll even have money saved up when I leave. Thanks for reading this rather long post! Hope you can help!
You know there is a glut of people wanting to do the teach English on the market now, right? However, since you are young and American it might be worth a try, especially if you are also white, athletic and good-looking. I take it you are not female, but that would be another plus. Some kind of recognized certification from an in-person course such as the CELTA is now pretty much mandatory for Korea and the more popular places in China, and helpful in other places. Therefore it might be worth your while. You know you won't get rich in SEA right? If you really want to go there then Vietnam probably is your best bet. There are some good jobs in Thailand, but it is a case of who you know. Most of the jobs there and in the rest of SEA pay peanuts.
Welcome to the forum, bw220! I'm also planning on teaching English overseas. I had found a job in Russia earlier this year, but turned it down in hopes of finding a job in Thailand. The chances are good that I will be accepted to a teaching program in Thailand, so that's why I turned down the Russia job for a better destination. As for my qualifications, I have a bachelors degree in Business and a 100 hour TESOL certificate (which I completed all online). In my opinion, a TEFL or CELTA certificate is superior to a TESOL certificate because those certificates require actual classroom experience, rather than just taking a class online. Nothing beats actual real world experience! Also, do not take a TEFL certificate course that is totally online! I repeat, do not take a TEFL certificate course that is online only! Employers want people with some actual in-class experience, so remember that!
I do have to warn you, employers are becoming extremely picky in who they choose to hire, due in large part to number of Americans and other foreigners looking to teach overseas (because of the economic recession in the West). So schools have their 'pick of the litter,' one might say. But, you qualifications seem pretty good from reading your post.
Whatever people say in this thread, they're not actually HERE in China. Believe me, there's still a shortage of English teachers here. The boxes to tick are:
Teaching certificate (CELTA is best IMHO)
To get the best jobs, you need all three, but you can find work with only one of the above.
Also the teachers I've seen tend to be older (40 - 65), I guess schools may prefer younger teachers.
I'm in Guangzhou, which is a big international city. Yet foreigners are non-existent in this part of the city, so it feels like frontier territory.
If you want to earn the most, teach in Korea or here in China.
If you want to date pretty girls, go to Vietnam.
As far as living in China goes, I'm spending about 150RMB a day on food and general stuff (mostly stuff to keep my apartment clean!) and my apartment is 1200RMB a month (plus another 300RMB or so for various bills). You can eat for less, but you'll spend more on toilet rolls as a result, ha ha ha!
As you get better you can pick up very lucrative private tuition jobs. You can generally name your price for these.
I quit my boring cubicle slave job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Thanks for all the replies! I've been looking into certification programs and apparently the one I saw at first doesn't have the best reputation. It's an Oxford Seminars course if anyone knows it. Thanks for the advice on china Xiongmao. I actually tutor mostly Chinese students right now and they all say China is great for teaching English. I have heard amazing things about the Vietnemese girls. Really that's not the major draw though and I will be looking into China a little bit more, it seems like a good possibility. When you say Graduate you mean just a B.A. right? Not a Masters.
To Cornfed I'm not a girl, but I would I am white, and I would say I am athletic and at least moderately good-looking? Does that really matter? I'm not really in it for the money, just looking to experience living in another culture. Thanks again for the advice everyone!
Interesting. Well thanks for letting me know!